By Charlie O. Mallonee
Chris Sale was the first pitcher to win 14 games in the major leagues. It took him six games and 49 days to book his 15th win of the season. Win number 15 came on Saturday night in Chicago against the Oakland Athletics by the score of 6-2.
Sale pitched eight innings of scoreless baseball and gave way to his bullpen to close out the game in the top of ninth inning. The A’s seized on the opportunity to face someone else other than Sale and had the tying run on deck when Chad Pinder flied out to deep center field just three feet from the fence with two men on base for the final out of the game.
The Oakland loss ties the series at one game apiece with the rubber game of the match to be played on Sunday afternoon.
On the Bump
Left-handed starting pitcher Chris Sale (15-6) was the story of the night for the White Sox. The 6-foot-6 Sale came out and took control of the game from the beginning. He gave up no runs on just three hits. Sale faced 29 hitters and walked three while striking out eight. Sale wanted the win so badly he threw 120 pitches (74 strikes) in pursuit of the victory.
Nate Jones came on in the top of the ninth inning to close the game out for Sale and proved to be no mystery for A’s hitters. Jones gave up two runs (earned) on three hits and managed to get only one out. He was responsible two runners on base when he left the game.
Closer David Robertson had to enter the game for Chicago. He managed to get Yonder Alonso to strike out and Chad Pinder to fly out to deep center field for the final out of the game. Robertson picked up his 31st save of the season.
LHP Ross Detwiler started for the A’s and had one of those games that a pitcher would like to have erased from his memory. Detwiler (1-2) gave up six runs (earned) on 10 hits in just 4.0 innings of work. He walked one, struck out two and issued one home run. Detwiler threw 81 pitches (55 strikes) in four innings of work. He faced 23 batters. Bottom line, it just was not Detwiler’s night.
The A’s bullpen did all they could do to keep their team in the game. Daniel Coulombe, Chris Smith and John Axford combined to hold the White Sox scoreless over the 4.0 innings. In fact, the A’s relievers did not allow a baserunner in final four innings.
In the Batter’s Box
Every White Sox hitter except DH Justin Morneau had a hit in the game off Detwiler.
Jose Abreu led the way for Chicago going 2-for-3 on the night driving in two runs and scoring two runs. One of his hits was his 15th home run of the season and the other was his 28th double of the year. Abreu now has 66 RBI for the season.
Melky Cabrera went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Sox Saturday night. Cabrera also drove in two runs and scored a run. Cabrera hit his 29th double and recorded his 56th RBI in the game.
Danny Valencia had a 2-for-4 night for the A’s. Valencia started the Oakland mini-rally in the top of the ninth inning by hitting his 15th home run of the season into the seats in right center field.
Chad Pinder made his major league debut on Saturday night in Chicago. Pinder who was called up from Triple-A Nashville when Tyler Ladendorf went on the DL will play second base against left-handed starting pitchers. Pinder went 0-for-4 for the night but made the game interesting when he hit a David Robertson cut fastball that was up in the zone to deep center field with two runners on in the top of the ninth inning. Unfortunately, the ball was about three feet short of going over the wall and White Sox CF Adam Eaton was fast enough to haul it in for the final out of the game.
You’ve got to be kidding me
In the top of the ninth inning with one out and Ryon Healy on at first, Stephen Vogt hit a ground ball on the right side of the infield that was fielded by second baseman Carlos Sanchez. Sanchez tossed the ball to shortstop Tim Anderson. Anderson stepped on second base forcing out Healy and threw to first but Vogt was called safe.
A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the call at second base. The video replay made it very clear that Anderson did not come within a foot of touching the bag. The call was overturned and Healy was called safe.
What happened next? Brett Eibner hit a line drive single to right that allowed Healy to score and moved Vogt up to second. Replay has changed the game.
The plan was for Jesse Hahn to come off the disabled list and make the start versus the White Sox on Sunday. Those plans went on hold when Hahn did not feel right after throwing in the bullpen on Saturday. Hahn had felt good after pitching in Nashville on Tuesday but that was not the case on Saturday.
With Hahn on still on the DL, RHP Zach Neal – who had actually returned to the bullpen – will make another start for Oakland. Neal started last Sunday against the Mariners in Oakland. He worked 5.1 innings giving up five runs on eight hits. Neal has a record of 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA. He has a 7.98 ERA as starter and a 3.15 ERA as a reliever.
The White Sox will send LHP Jose Quintana to the hill on Sunday. Quintana in 9-9 on the year with a 2.85 ERA. This will be his third try at picking up win number 10.
Photo: Chicago Tribune